Netflix is working on making its content available worldwide, eliminating the need to use VPNs to stream certain films and TV series.
If you’ve ever tried to use your Netflix account in another country, you’ll have experienced firsthand how much the content you can find on its different platforms truly varies.
Not only will you find more region-specific content depending on your location (if you’re, say, in Denmark, your Netflix might be full of Scandinavian shows and movies), but sometimes big blockbusters hop from country to country.
This has a lot to do with distributing rights, regional network agreements, and international law; all based on a pre-internet media distribution model. But Netflix wants to break down these archaic restrictions, and finally bring the internet into the 21st century.
Say the American Netflix doesn’t have Iron Man 2. The British version might, for seemingly inexplicable reasons. And where Britain has Breaking Bad, the U.S. version has Friends.
Naturally, Netflix subscribers who know that their fellow subscribers from a neighboring country have access to the content they want are likely to seek alternate ways to view said content. After all, they’ve (technically) already paid to see it.
A lot of people use VPNs (virtual private networks) to get around region-blocked content. Netflix is well aware of this. But, as Netflix CEO Reed Hastings notes (as quoted by The Independent), “The VPN thing is a small little asterisk compared to piracy. Piracy is really the problem around the world.”
Instead of trying to shut the VPNs down, Netflix is now working to render the region block problem obsolete.
“The basic solution is for Netflix to get global and have its content be the same all around the world so there’s no incentive to [use a VPN],” Hastings explains. “Then we can work on the more important part, which is piracy.”
We’re looking forward to seeing how this plays out! With online streaming clearly being the future of the industry, and increasing demand to make all content simultaneously available worldwide, region-blocking seems increasingly unnecessary and troublesome.